Objectives To assess the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in married women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and comparing with a control group.
Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study including 31 case-control patients with rheumatoid arthritis according to the ACR criteria 1987. Patients with any disease or who are taking medication that may impair sexual function were excluded. The controls were healthy volunteers matched for age and sex. Clinical and sociodemographic characteristics were collected. Sexual function was assessed by self-reported questionnaire the FSFI (index of female sexual function). This score assesses sexual function during the past 4 weeks; it is composed of six domains respectively assessing desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain. The FSFI total score varies between 1.2 and 36. The threshold score of FSFI ≤ 26 defines a sexual dysfunction.
Results The mean age was 45 ± 9.1 with a median disease duration of 60 months (24-144). The mean DAS28 was 4.59 ± 1.81 with a median HAQ of 0.75 (0.25 to 1.22). The mean age of controls was 44.7 ± 10 years. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction in RA was 74.1%. There was a significant difference in the total FSFI score between patients 17.17 ± 10 and controls 23.05 ± 8 (p = 0.04). Areas of desire (p patients: 2.07 ± 1 versus control t: 2.9 ± 10), excitement (p: 2.4 ± 1.5 vs t: 3.6 ± 1.6) lubrication (p: 2.7 ± 2 vs t: 3.7 ± 1.8), orgasm (p: t 2 vs 2.8 ± 3.8 ± 1.6) and satisfaction (p: 3.44 ± 1.8 vs. t = 4.7), respectively, were lower in RA patients compared to controls (for all p <0.05), except for the pain domain (p = 3.6 ± 2.60 vs t: 4.10 ± 1.75). The presence of sexual dysfunction did not appear to be associated with age (p = 0.90), menopause (p = 0.79) and psychological status (p = 0.56), whereas the educational level (p < 0, 001).
Conclusions This study suggests that sexual dysfunction is more common among married patients with RA compared to controls. These dysfunctions were related to desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared